It’s the first of the month, so Wendy Powell is back! This time she is sharing nutrition tips that can help us close the gap of diastasis recti.
Healthy, real food has a powerful, positive effect on your body and your mind. Good nutrition blasts fat, reveals muscle. It makes hair shine, skin glow and joints feel supple. It creates energy, lifts spirits and keeps your mood even.
A poor diet (heavy on hydrogenated fats, additives, sugar, caffeine and alcohol) does the reverse. It’s an obstacle to weight loss, it makes us feel sluggish, our skin and hair looks lank, and we can experience anxiety, poor concentration and rollercoaster moods.
It’s clear that clean, nourishing foods – bursting with vitamins, minerals and essential fats – are crucial to our health and wellbeing. But can our diet play another vital role: Can it heal us when our body has been compromised?
For instance, by that muscle testing, pelvic floor pounding, connective tissue stretching (LOVELY!) thing: pregnancy and childbirth?
Whether you have a C-section scar or diastasis recti, what you eat is a major factor in how well your body heals. Good nutrition helps the body’s repair processes, while a bad diet slows them down and makes them less effective.
What foods aid diastasis recti healing?
To understand the foods that are beneficial to healing diastasis recti in particular, we have to go back to biology class.
We know that diastasis recti is a symptom of excessive intra abdominal pressure – pressure that particularly rises in the abdominal cavity in pregnancy and fails to drop to a normal level after giving birth. (Find out more about diastasis recti in the infographic below.)
The connective tissue of the rectus abdominis muscle (called the linea alba) is stretched to make way for your growing baby and doesn’t spring back afterwards, as the pressure has not let up.
Gentle core exercise, correcting alignment and breathing into and from your diaphragm (not your belly) can help lower that pressure.
Working in tandem with that, you can eat the right things help the linea alba regain elasticity, enabling ‘the gap’ to narrow and the midline to firm up.
The linea alba and entire central connective ‘meeting point’ of your abdominal muscles includes a meshwork of collagen fibres, and so what you’re looking to do with your diet is to assist collagen production to give this connective tissue the springiness it needs to bounce back.
Vitamins C and A, and zinc, are important for collagen regeneration, and helping these fibres to become taut. Find Vitamin C in a host of fresh fruit and vegetables, such as red peppers, tomatoes and kiwis. Boost Vitamin A by eating carrots, sweet potatoes and kale. Get zinc from nuts, seeds and beans.
Protein, which is a component of every cell in the body, also plays a big role in repairing damaged tissue. Include good protein with every meal. My favourite sources of protein are: grass-fed or organic meat, fish, nuts and eggs.
Think about what your body cells crave to function at an optimum level – that’s also what they need for healing. Oxygen is vital – and iron is the ‘taxi service’ that takes oxygen to the body cells. Eat iron-rich foods like beef, broccoli and apricots to make sure you’re getting enough.
Water is crucial for detoxifying and hydrating connective tissue, and for boosting circulation. To give diastasis healing the best chance, now is the time to get into a hydration habit (it doesn’t all need to be plain water: diluted juices, herbal teas and water-rich foods count too).
Alpha-linolenic acid (essential fatty acids) is another important component of your healing diet. It improves the body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, has a positive effect on immune response, and boosts energy. Make sure you eat plenty of oily fish, seeds, nuts, avocados and eggs. And use olive oil, coconut oil, rapeseed oil and hemp oil liberally as you prepare meals.
What foods hinder diastasis recti recovery?
Any food that puts stress on your body is a drain on its healing powers. Inflammatory foods such as sugar, alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and trans fats are nutritional Kryptonite, preventing you from recovering.
Real, clean, fresh food that grew, walked or swam will only do you good, so stick to that and avoid anything processed, refined, or nutritionally dubious.
Emotional stress is bad for your diastasis recti too
Being a mother is hard enough, but being a calm mother is a challenge of the highest order! But if you are tired, stressed out, anxious, or angry, your body is distracted, sapped of energy and unable to focus on healing.
A stressed body will not get better, so try your very hardest to find ways to rest and relax every day.
Start the journey to healing
If you’re determined to be fully fit – commitment and patience is all it takes. Your body will do its very best to heal itself. But when it’s taken that process as far as it can go on its own, there are still positive steps you can take.
Exercise mindfully (aware of your body’s limitations), gain strength slowly and eat well. Do all this and your body will start its journey back to full fitness, inside and out. That’s what MuTu System is all about, not just looking better, but feeling better and having a body that works as it should.
If you have any questions about my post, please holler in the comments and I’ll answer you. I hope I’ve helped!
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